Gout is an inflammatory form of arthritis, and is considered to be the most common form of this painful condition. Gout generally affects the joints in the big toe, and is caused by excess uric acid in the blood, causing crystals to form. This can occur from genetic reasons, or from eating foods that have high purine levels. These types of foods can include red meat, shellfish, alcohol, and drinks that are made with large amounts of sugar. The pain that patients experience with gout can be debilitating, and it is often difficult to walk. A proper diagnosis can consist of having an X-ray taken, and fluid may be extracted out of the affected joints that houses the crystals. Patients who have existing medical issues may be at a higher risk for getting gout. These can include obesity, kidney disorders, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Living a healthy lifestyle may help to prevent future gout attacks, and may be easier to control if they do happen. If you have questions about gout, or have frequent attacks, it is strongly advised that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can answer any concerns you may have, and guide you toward proper treatment options.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.
- Intense Joint Pain – Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
- Lingering Discomfort – Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
- Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
- Limited Range of Motion – May experience a decrease in joint mobility
- Genetics – If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
- Medications – Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
- Gender/Age – Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
- Diet – Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
- Alcohol – Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
- Obesity – Obese people are at a higher risk for gout
Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms–including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Dallas, TX . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.